A post should appear every Sunday.
Sunday July 31st 2020
Thank goodness, the heatwave passes, and by Wednesday it’s what the meteorologists declare to be ‘a normal July day.’
Hmmmmmm. What’s normal any more?
We enjoy a typical Kings Heath Park walk.
Over the last few weeks, I have trusted Isis to walk the perimeter of the park off lead. This is a big deal as we have to walk parallel to Vicarage Road, then Avenue Road – both of which are very busy.
We leave the car park, and head along the path in the direction of Vicarage Road. After a few yards I remove her harness and lead, and she walks along by my side, sniffing the edge of the big field. Now and then she crosses to the other side of the path to investigate the scents left on the low stone walls.
Once or twice, I have to head her off from walking into a pram or a push chair, but she is unphased and walks on confidently for a few yards. Then she stops, waits until I draw level with her, sniffs the bit of me closest to her, and continues.
We follow the path parallel to the road: here, she picks up and follows scents which lead her onto the field.
I wait for her to come back to my side, and we continue past the rose beds before turning left to the the infants’ play area. Here, she walks close to the red metal fence, on the other side of which the small children smile and point her out to their carers.
We’re parallel to Avenue Road now, walking towards the small car park. Isis, who knows this route like the back of her paw, walks a few feet ahead of me, then turns left and stands waiting to be put on her lead to cross the car park.
When she’s off lead again, she makes for the pond, and the delicious ratty smells.
Yay! So many scents. Her nose is seldom more than an inch from the ground. Now and then she does little excited dives into the hedges on either side of the path. Sometimes, I spot a large rat scurrying for cover at the same time as its scent hits her nostrils, and we’re off!
We’ve meandered half way round the pond by now. Isis is well aware that the main car park is close, and fancies a left turn.
“No Isis, we’re not going back to the car yet,” I admonish, turning her fluffiness round with my right hand on her chest and my left on her rump.
She soon recovers from being thwarted though, and slowly accompanies me past the café, past the greenhouses and the plant nursery.
Now we’ve reached the top of the steep slope which leads down to the old bowling green, where, years ago, I let Isis off her lead for the very first time.
This is one of her favourite spots. She sniffs the air, picks up speed and trots down the slope keeping close to the hawthorn hedge.
I run to catch up with her before she reaches the drain. The gaps between the bars are wide enough for a paw to slip through so I always guide her round the obstacle.
She still reaches the bottom of the path well before I do, but politely waits for me to catch her up before she veers off the main path onto the little track which runs alongside the railway line.
As we reach the track, a beautiful copper coloured spaniel shoots in front of us and dives through a gap in the fence into the filthy mud filled sump where she wallows ecstatically.
Soon, her owner hoves into sight. Much to my surprise, the lady is calm and cheerful.
She explains that it’s impossible to prevent her dog from doing this, unless she keeps her on her lead, and that’s no fun for either of them.
“It’s her greatest pleasure,” the owner tells me, “so I just let her enjoy it, and hose her down when we get home.”
One really warms to people like that.
I’ll not describe in detail the slimy black canine which eventually emerges, smiling, through the gap in the fence.
to be continued …………………….
Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.